Over the past years, though many idols have been vocal on how the mistreatment between management agencies and their artists should be taken into serious consideration, little progress was made considering the fact that tons of cases still arise every day.
Despite being home to many big names like BTOB, (G)I-DLE and PENTAGON, Cube Entertainment was actually quite notorious for mistreating their idols.
Recently, the work ethic of the company was once again brought into question when the former member of CLC, Elkie, exposed that she was mistreated just because of her nationality.
Two months after Elkie split ways with Cube Entertainment, she made the very first statement about the reasons for her departure in an interview with Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao.
Here, Elkie said that she felt there was “no reason” to remain in CLC after their agency had stopped providing support to the group. Elkie also cited the lengthy delays between their releases and accused the company of “taking away” the group’s “opportunities”.
“When the company said it would no longer be investing resources into CLC, I felt that there was no reason to stay on,” Elkie said. “As an idol, I just wanted to reach out to fans through my work. If I’m not allowed to do that, I can’t accept it.”
After the interview was published, many people believed that one of those “opportunities” she was talking about is IZ*ONE’s debut single “La Vie En Rose,” which was reportedly to initially be the comeback title song of CLC.
Ming Pao noted that Elkie and her groupmates had already recorded the song and rehearsed its choreography before the song was subsequently sold to IZ*ONE.
In the interview, she straightforwardly emphasized that “La Vie En Rose” was originally CLC’s song and it was taken away in front of their eyes, so despite their feeling disturbed and discontent, they were all helpless.
“I feel that the agency has been too out of line and I am very disappointed. The frequency of CLC’s releases was so low, sometimes taking a year to release new songs and albums.”—Elkie said.
Besides, Elkie also exposed the mistreatment she received just because of her nationality only. In the lawsuit she has recently filed, it was clearly written that Cube Entertainment has never clarified the real income that Elkie was supposed to receive. Moreover, despite Elkie’s having accomplished all the duties in the contract and other entertainment activities, the company hasn’t paid her the acting commission according to article 6.4.
Despite all these monetary issues with Cube Entertainment, fans were somewhat relieved to know that Elkie was still on good terms with all the members of CLC.
Before the case of Elkie, CUBE Entertainment was also involved in another huge scandal regarding their playing dirty behind their idol’s back, Lai Guanlin.
In 2019, after Wanna One disbanded, Lai Guanlin signed with Cube Entertainment to collaborate with Wooseok of PENTAGON in the upcoming song “I’m A Star.”
Seemingly the idol would be there to stay, he ended up withdrawing from the company after filing a lawsuit.
As Guanlin’s lawyers once stated, Cube Entertainment had privately sold the exclusive contract with the idol to a Chinese company, Taizo Entertainment, with a price of 10 times greater than the value of the initial contract.
What’s even more reprehensible was that Cube Entertainment did this without Gualin’s consent and even fake the seal and signatures of his father.
Of course, that deal could have been forever hidden in the dark had Lai Guanlin not spotted the constant conflicts in his schedules and privately investigated the cause in early 2019.
After filing the lawsuit to unilaterally terminate the contract with Cube Entertainment, the situation started to turn for the worse when the company refused to settle and continuously stated that the deal was legal.
Though the exact information has never been confirmed and the case is still ongoing, many people have decided to be on the side of Lai Guanlin and criticized Cube Entertainment for its shady acts.
Next comes the case of Sleepy, a multi-talented persona that was believed to be played dirty by the management company TS Entertainment multiple times.
Yes, this company has been quite controversial since forever.
In 2019, though the exclusive contract between him and TS Entertainment was canceled, the conflict was still ongoing. After the two parties gave the reasons for terminating the contract, they entered the second confrontation round.
According to Sleepy, the reason behind this dispute came all the way down to the fraud he had to endure for the past 13 years working under TS Entertainment.
Back in the day, the more Sleepy worked, the deeper he got into debt. Firstly, he had to endure an exploiting contract with a profit ratio of 1:9 for 7 years in a row, where Sleepy would receive 1 part and that of TS Entertainment was 9.
He was even defrauded by his former manager, this person secretly received the event fee and fled. Regarding this, TS has laid blame on that former manager and did not pay Sleepy.
Therefore, Sleepy had to survive on a “loan”. He borrowed 1.1 million won each month for 3 years in a row and was forced to repay that loan by deducting from his future income.
However, Sleepy “luckily” received the bonus in the first term after 6 years since he signed the contract with TS. “Sleepy has contributed to the development of the company by fully complying with the contract and carrying out artistic activities enthusiastically, such as releasing a total of 16 albums to date. Therefore, we gave him a bonus of 30 million won (before tax).”—the company said in an announcement in 2014.
Even when Sleepy started to be sought after in 2015 thanks to his appearances in many entertainment programs and the releases of 15 albums, his life was still in extreme difficulties.
The company not only refused to pay for the water, electricity and gas bills, but they also didn’t make his salary payment on time so that he could pay them.
The issue of salary payment for Sleepy continued to arise amid the aforementioned situation. He questioned the payment of his remuneration and said that the company did not comply with the contract.
In particular, he asserted he had never seen the receipt for expenses. Of course, the company later paid a part of the salary to the male rapper, but what’s worth discussing is transparency.
Sleepy said, “The company usually gives me the quarterly salary finalization sheet. All I receive is an Excel page with arbitrarily prepared revenue and expense figures.”
In contrast, the company claimed that Sleepy was falsely accusing them without knowing the details of the story. Particularly, they said “In the past 7 years since debut, the amount of money we earned was very small and in contrast, there was a loss. Therefore, this was unavoidable.”
Basically, TS was saying that the amount of investment spent on Sleepy was way bigger than what he brought back and thus, the late payment was inevitable.
The company even took things further by using legal means to accuse Sleepy of embezzling SNS’s promotion costs while according to the rapper, the company had soon been aware of his receiving commission from sponsorship.
If there was a prize for a company with the worst treatment to idols then TS Entertainment must be the most suitable nominee to receive that rotten title.
For all artists that have worked under the company, there was no one that didn’t suffer from their terrible, enduring mistreatment.
Besides Sleepy, in 2018, Jun Hyosung also filed a lawsuit against TS Entertainment for embezzling her payment for years.
According to the legal representative of Hyonsung, the last commission she received was 6 million won in 2015. Ever since then, no other payment was transferred to the idol.
“Jun Hyosung received no payment despite having accomplished all the duties and promotional performances.”—the representative said.
Moreover, the company even transferred the exclusive contract with Hyosung without her consent.
As usual, TS Entertainment made a totally contrasting claim and emphasized that there has never been anything wrong with the income of Jun Hyosung.
Of course, they didn’t leave out the familiar tactic of filing another lawsuit to ask for compensation from the victim.
In the case of Hyosung, she was asked to pay 1 billion won due to her violation of the contract.
After many hearings, the judge finally made the verdict in favor of the female idol and thus, she didn’t need to pay the money that TS Entertainment baselessly required.
Song Ji Eun (SECRET)
Following the footsteps of Hyosung, another member of SECRET, Song Ji Eun, also filed a lawsuit against TS Entertainment for the same reason.
She also accused the company of unilaterally signing commercial contracts without her consent and then embezzled all the commissions that actually belonged to the idol.
The conflict started to elevate when the company filed a lawsuit against Jieun and asked her to compensate a large amount of money for signing with them when the former exclusive contract was still valid.
Not as lucky as Hyosung, the case of Ji Eun was still ongoing.
Alexandra Reid (RaNia)
One year prior to the case of Hyosung, another embezzling issue also took place between the first-ever black member of KPOP, Alexandra Reid, with her management company DR Music.
Around October 2017, Alexandra continuously sent messages to her former agency signaling something about the fact that they were making her wait for too long and thus she was losing patience.
When three days had passed and she still received nothing from DR Music, another message was sent right to the official account of RaNia with her saying: “I still haven’t heard anything from you. Please proceed with what you haven’t finished.”
Though the female idol didn’t point out exactly what the critical issue between her and DR Music was, many people speculated that Alex was talking about the unpaid salary that she was supposed to receive during the span of two years working under RaNia.
Not only being embezzled, Alex was also believed to have been used as bait to capture the public attention during her time with RaNia, but she was also terribly treated. In every comeback, she would appear for a maximum of 30 seconds and then quickly return backstage.
In other words, she was nothing more than a featured artist in RaNia’s song despite being an integrated part of the group.
With this performance for example, it was a huge humiliation for Alex considering the fact that she had to awkwardly stand there and watch other members singing and dancing.
Ever since day one, the company had already made her an outcast of RaNia.
So, of all the cases above, which one do you think has many things not been clarified? With all those dirty acts and exploiting profit splitting ratio, what reasons do you think so many people are still willing to join the KPOP industry? Comment down below to share your thoughts with us.
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